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Last modified: September 12, 2001
XML Common Business Library (xCBL)

xCBL 3.0. "The Common Business Library, or xCBL, is a set of XML building blocks and a document framework that allows the creation of robust, reusable, XML documents for e-commerce. These elemental building blocks were defined based on extensive research and collaboration by Commerce One and the leading XML industry initiatives. xCBL can help accelerate any trading partner's XML efforts by providing these building blocks and a document framework. Consistent with this purpose, xCBL is available free of charge in prominent XML repositories. Version 3.0 of xCBL represents a fundamental change in scope and design goals, providing support for direct goods scenarios, ERP integrations, and standards such as RosettaNet and OBI, along with many flavors of industry-standard X12 and UN/EDIFACT EDI. xCBL version 3.0 was announced at the eLink conference in Hong Kong on November 29, 2000. xCBL version 3.0 is different from the preceding versions in one major respect: instead of being a single, extensible set of documents for doing Order Management, it has become a wide-ranging set of messages intended to provide interoperability across a broader range of direct goods and procurement scenarios, and to act as a central language for managing different syntaxes, as well as a simple set of messages for doing e-commerce. xCBL 3.0 is provided in SOX Schema format, XDR Schema format, and XML DTD format to support all types of applications. There are very minor differences between the XML instances used with these different structural descriptions for validation and parsing. xCBL 3.0 covers a wide variety of B2B e-commerce scenarios, in both the MRO/Indirect Procurement and Direct Goods arenas."

About XML Common Business Library (xCBL): "The XML Common Business Library (xCBL) is a set of XML building blocks and a document framework that allows the creation of robust, reusable, XML documents to facilitate global trading. It essentially serves as the "mother code," providing one language that all e-marketplace participants can understand. This interoperability allows businesses everywhere to easily exchange documents across multiple e-marketplaces, giving global access to buyers, suppliers, and providers of business services. xCBL 3, the latest version, provides a smooth migration path from EDI-based commerce because of its origins in EDI semantics. xCBL will be able to support all essential documents and transactions for global e-commerce including multi-company supply chain automation, direct and indirect procurement, planning, auctions, and invoicing and payment in an international multi-currency environment. xCBL is the result of extensive collaboration between Commerce One. and the leading XML standards bodies, e-commerce enterprises, and hardware and software vendors, as well as analysis of existing e-commerce standards including Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), RosettaNet, and Open Buying on the Internet (OBI). Industry leaders Compaq, Microsoft, SAPMarkets, and Sun Microsystems will leverage xCBL 3.0 as a key standard in the development and delivery of business-to-business solutions."

[September 12, 2001]   OASIS Technical Committee Proposed for Universal Business Language (UBL).    A call for participation has been issued in connection with a proposed OASIS Technical Committee for a Universal Business Language (UBL). The new Universal Business Language is proposed as "a synthesis of existing XML business document libraries. Work would begin with xCBL 3.0 as the starting point and to develop the standard UBL library by mutually agreed-upon changes to xCBL 3.0 based on industry experience with other XML business libraries and with similar technologies such as Electronic Data Interchange. The TC will endeavor to develop UBL in light of standards/specifications issued by UN/CEFACT, ISO, IEC, ITU, W3C, IETF, OASIS, and such other standards bodies and organizations as the UBL TC may deem relevant. It would harmonize UBL as far as practical with the ebXML specifications approved in Vienna (May 2001), with the work of the Joint Core Components initiative (a joint project of ANSI ASC X12 and the UN/EDIFACT Working Group), and with the work of other appropriate business information bodies. The primary deliverable of the UBL TC is a coordinated set of XML grammatical components that will allow trading partners to unambiguously identify the business documents to be exchanged in a particular business context." The new OASIS TC is to be chaired by Jon Bosak (Sun Microsystems), and is projected to be completed within 1-2 years. [Full context]

Earlier description: "The Common Business Library (CBL) is being developed by Veo Systems, Inc. as a set of building blocks with common semantics and syntax to ensure interoperability among XML applications. CBL consists of information models for generic business concepts including: 1) business description primitives like companies, services, and products; 2) business forms like catalogs, purchase orders, and invoices; 3) standard measurements, date and time, location, classification codes. Industry-specific XML applications that reuse CBL for generic information and common business documents can be developed more quickly and better understood in other domains because of their common elements. CBL may be considered as 'glue'that connects pieces of existing e-commerce functionality.

"CBL consists of an extensible, public set of XML DTDs and modules, supported by reference documentation and samples. CBL (version 1.1) has been submitted to CommerceNet, RosettaNet, and other organizations with XML initiatives and is available for public use at no cost."

"Veo's platform streamlines corporate procurement by transforming manufacturing supply chains and distribution channels into supply webs. More specifically, it enables computers to exchange data sheets, price lists, purchase orders and other structured business documents without prior arrangement using email and the Web. Eliminating the need for custom interfaces with every customer and supplier slashes integration costs. More importantly, it makes possible a multitude of innovative real time services such as tracking and managing inventory, open sourcing, and demand forecasting.

[July 28, 1999] Commerce One Releases the Common Business Library (CBL) Version 2.0. - A Comprehensive XML Document Library. A July 1999 announcement from Commerce One, Inc. publicized the release of CBL version 2.0, said to be "the first XML specification for electronic commerce designed to take advantage of the expressive power of XML schemas. As a demonstration of its commitment to interoperability, CBL is available in three different schema languages: Microsoft's XML Data Reduced (XDR), the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) XML Schema Definition Language (XDSL), and Commerce One's Schema for Object-oriented XML (SOX)." From the announcement: "In a move to accelerate adoption of business-to-business electronic commerce, Commerce One, Inc. today announced the Commerce One Common Business Library (CBL) 2.0, the first open XML specification for the cross-industry exchange of business documents such as purchase orders, invoices, product descriptions, and shipping schedules. Commerce One CBL 2.0 is a set of XML building blocks and a document framework that allows the creation of robust, reusable XML documents for electronic commerce. Using the CBL 2.0 document framework, businesses everywhere can conduct electronic commerce by seamlessly exchanging business documents of different types, resulting in frictionless commerce across multiple trading communities. To enable companies to preserve their investment in existing standards such as traditional Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), CBL 2.0 provides a transition path to XML-based commerce capability. Based on a broad range of Internet and commerce-related industry standards and specifications, CBL 2.0 is endorsed by industry leaders including Microsoft's BizTalk initiative, OASIS, the UN/CEFACT Techniques and Methodologies Working Group, and CommerceNet and its eCo Framework Project and Working Group. To encourage its industry-wide adoption and development, CBL 2.0 is free of charge and available immediately from e-commerce document repositories including,, CommerceNet and Commerce One" See the press release: "Commerce One Announces Common Business Library -- CBL 2.0. Industry's First Comprehensive XML Document Library. Standard XML Approach Endorsed by Microsoft, CommerceNet, UN/CEFACT and OASIS."


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